Introducing Rebecca Woollam, Marketing Assistant – Media here at Theatre Royal.
How long have you worked in the theatre industry?
Just over a year!
How long have you worked at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?
Since March 2022 at the beginning of the Home, I’m Darling rehearsals – straight in the deep end.
What is your role in the theatre?
I’m part of the Marketing team based inside the theatre and my title is Marketing Assistant – media. The main part of my role is to not only tell people about our performances and what else we do at the theatre, but to also bring in new audiences by engaging with people online and through the press (radio, papers, podcasts, online and TV).
What are your main responsibilities?
I’m responsible for everything social media including a whole host of sites (yes even Tiktok!) and getting our news in papers, online, on the radio and even on TV. Firstly, I create a social media plan for the month and for big shows, especially our own, then I create content around them which I think our audiences will engage with. I also use social media advertising to help to grow audiences and get the word out there! If you see a person filming or taking pictures at the theatre, that’s probably me.
How did you get into this role?
In the final year of my Commercial Music Performance degree, one of my tasks was to marketing myself as a touring musician. I got the (marketing) bug and never looked back. After going back to my job in retail, I moved to an independent retailer and because of my experience at university, I took over their social media channels, PR and event marketing as well as working in the shop. I did my first paid course here – it was really useful and gave me a great base to learn and grow. I moved to a larger retailer with no room for marketing but I did work as the head of the Visual Merchandising team which I loved and was essentially DIY and analogue marketing combined – working out who your customer was, customer flow, what they were doing, where they were going and what they wanted to buy, then putting it in front of them in a beautiful, shoppable display – just like digital marketing. Unfortunately, my job was lost to the pandemic which meant moving to another company, this time working in customer service (something I’d done in retail for years) and taking on their PR role. I managed to get us on to ITV’s This Morning as well as in other big-name lifestyle and fashion magazines. I missed digital marketing and I’d been learning so much about it in my spare time that I looked around and saw this job at the theatre which combined my passion for performance (slightly different I know, but still) and digital marketing and here I am!
Do you remember what applying for your job felt like?
Exciting! Sometimes you get that feeling when something feels like you and this job felt like me to a T. I remember getting the call to come in for an interview and I was buzzing!
What’s your favourite part about your job?
Learning. Coming into a new industry, there’s always a lot to learn and I’ve definitely learnt a lot during the last year about theatre but with social media, it’s always evolving and it keeps me on my toes! I’ve found that webinars, articles and trial and error are the best ways to keep me up to date. I also listen to marketing podcasts (sad, I know) and follow lots of social media experts online which gives me hint and tips.
How many people are in your team?
There’s 3 of us in the marketing department and we all have different roles and responsibilities – there are many angles to marketing and PR!
What is your top tip/s for someone looking to get into your role?
Be a step ahead. For me, learning about marketing and growing outside of my previous day jobs has helped me to get where I am now. I did free online marketing courses, one paid in-person course, I asked local businesses if I could help them with their marketing (don’t sell yourself short mind you) and my genuine interest in marketing spurred me on. I think the saying is ‘knowledge is power’.
Do you need any qualifications to get into this role? If so, what would you suggest?
No but there are some which will help you to gain a fuller understanding of social media and online marketing in general. You can do a formal course like any from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) which are in-depth and give you a recognised qualification at the end giving you a rounded overview of marketing and digital marketing.
In terms of free qualifications, there are loads out there which will give you a great platform to enter the marketing world. Google Digital Garage has so many free courses and some that are very specific for all things Google and internet related (SEO, Paid Ad Campaigns, etc). Hubspot also has some great courses, mostly paid but ‘Inbound Marketing’ is free and a great overview of content-based marketing strategy. Facebook or Meta (depending on when you’re reading this) has got a great range of courses on Facebook Blueprint which covers basics (always freshen up on your basics) and more advanced courses for advertising and monetizing content, plus these are generally updated with every change that Facebook makes so it means you can re-visit them later on too.
What has been your favourite production at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?
I think it has to be Home, I’m Darling. I loved The Legend of Robin Hood but seeing the characters in Home, I’m Darling develop from the read-through to its final performance was amazing. I loved the combination of the writing, staging, acting and everything really plus the music was in my head for weeks afterwards.
What is your favourite theatre phrase/word? E.g. proscenium, upstage, rig…
It’s got to be the classic ‘Break a leg’ right? As an ancient art form, there’s a lot of superstition in the theatre world and this one seems so odd (and rude?) out of context haha! Saying ‘Break a leg’ means to wish someone luck as they go on stage but if you forget and instead say ‘good luck’, some people fear the worst!